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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon Whiskey Between $125-$150

Paying a lot for bourbon can feel a tad futile. You can get flat-out amazing bottles of masterfully crafted juice for around $60 — Wild Turkey Rare Breed, anyone? Why pay more than that?

The best answer, as far as we can tell, is “uniqueness.” We’re past the place where featuring “classic bourbon flavors” wins you any points. At this level, you need to be doing something bold to stand out.

In many cases, that bold something is simply being rare. When bourbon gets into the triple digits, it’s often very, very limited edition stuff. Complex barrelling techniques are also in the mix. Even the bottles themselves are finely crafted.

This list was assembled based on taste and that undefinable quality mentioned at the outset: uniqueness. If you’re going to have one of these bottles delivered this weekend (prices are linked), we want it to feel like a great value. Still, the only person who can answer whether these bottles are worth collecting/buying/drinking at this price is you.

At the end of the day, it’s your wallet, not ours. Click the prices to order the expressions that look best to you!

Calumet Farm 14-Year-Old Single Rack Black

Calumet Farm

ABV: 48.1%

Average Price: $125

The Whiskey:

This bourbon is kind of like Kentucky in a bottle — it’s all about Derby horses and the state’s own spirit. The juice is sourced from a set of 19 barrels from the center of an unnamed warehouse. Those barrels are small batched after 14 long years of resting and the whiskey is proofed with soft Kentucky limestone water.

Tasting Notes:

This sip draws you in with a silken balance of cherry and vanilla cream that’s shockingly light. The taste builds on that foundation by adding in soft notes of cedar and cinnamon sticks next to a hint of dark chocolate with a whisper of pancake syrup sweetness. The end marries the cherry and vanilla into a cherry bespeckled ice cream, with hints of those woody cinnamon sticks and dark chocolate peeking in on the velvet finish.

Bottom Line:

With the Kentucky Derby coming up, this is a hell of a bottle to have around to celebrate that event (if that’s your jam). Moreover, if anyone ever asks what “smooth” tastes like in regards to bourbon, hand them a dram of this.

Breckenridge The Collector’s Art Series Limited Edition

Breckenridge Distillery

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $130

The Whiskey:

This limited edition expression is a collab between multi-platform artist Detour and Breckenridge’s Colorado distillery and warehouse. Detour painted the barrels this whiskey was aged in and then created an inner-label work of art for the very limited run. The end result is a marriage of Colorado bourbon and street art that truly feels special.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of Christmas cake with dark spices, dried fruits, and candied oranges next to a backdrop of spicy stewed apple skins. The palate holds onto those notes (especially the holiday cake vibes) while adding in a deep cacao bitterness and almost dryness, leading towards an apricot note. The end is long-ish and holds onto the brown spices and dried fruit while adding a final note of buttery toffee sweetness.

Bottom Line:

Part of paying more for this whiskey is in supporting a BIPOC artist. Another part of paying this much is that the whiskey is legitimately masterful. The bottle is a conversation starter at any slow-sipping whiskey tasting.

Sadly, you’re going to have to be close to the distillery to find this one at this price.

Barrell Bourbon New Year 2020

Barrell Bourbon

ABV: 54.7%

Average Price: $130

The Whiskey:

Barrell Bourbon’s New Year releases are quickly becoming the most coveted blends from the brand. Their 2020 limited release is a marriage of five to ten-year-old bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, New York, and Texas. All those barrels make their way to Kentucky where they’re batched and bottled at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a vanilla cake frosting sweetness on the nose that’s counterpointed by spicy stewed apples, yellow masa, and a touch of peach iced tea. The taste has a mulled wine spiciness and sweetness with hints of fig pudding, almonds, and chocolate-covered cherries spiked with brandy. This all adds up to a real holiday vibe (which is pretty appropriate for New Year’s) as the medium-length end touches on the dried fruits, nuts, and spices as it fades.

Bottom Line:

This is a great bottle to save for the holidays. Crack it open with loved ones and have a few drams. Then put it back on the shelf for another celebration down the road, preferably in winter.

Bib & Tucker 12 Year Single Barrel 99 Proof

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits

ABV: 49.5%

Average Price: $135

The Whiskey:

Bib & Tucker’s barrel picks are always worth chasing down. These are rare one-offs that Bib & Tucker hands select for retailers to bottle and sell. The juice is a Tennessee bourbon (some say that means it must be Dickel) that’s aged for 12 long years in very lightly charred oak. The whiskey then goes into the bottle after being proofed down (ever so slightly) to 99 proof.

Tasting Notes:

There will be some variation to these, depending on which one you come across. Still, expect a fairly classic bourbon nose of creamy vanilla, salted caramel apples, and a hint of soft cedar. The palate should touch on dark orange oils next to bright red cherry, with a vanilla pudding base and a subtle dose of dark spice leading towards salted dark chocolate. The end is quite quick and leaves you with salted dark chocolate, orange, and a hint more of salted caramel.

Bottom Line:

This is an interesting pick if you can find one. The savory edges really help it stand out from the crowd, offering you a chance to expand your palate while tasting something very easy-drinking.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Chocolate Malted Rye

Brown-Forman

ABV: 45.2%

Average Price: $135

The Whiskey:

No, this isn’t a rye whiskey. It’s a one-off Woodford Reserve bourbon that uses chocolate malted rye grains in its mash bill. The mash is made from 15 percent rye that’s been malted/toasted until it takes on a dark and rich chocolate-y taste (think of the malts used for Guinness or any porter). The bourbon was released in late fall 2019 and is a one-of-a-kind whiskey that we’ll likely never see again.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with a sense of cornmeal that’s been dusted in dark cacao next to a vanilla pudding base with a hint of marzipan and savory fruit. The taste really holds onto that dark chocolate, taking it into full-on cacao nib territory with dryness and bitterness, while hints of chili spice and very mild pine mingle on your tongue. The finish lingers for a good spell as the cacao veers into a spicy yet dry tobacco chew, leaving your senses buzzing.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those bottles we wish could be an every-day dram. It’s just so f*cking silky and full of distinct yet well-balanced flavors.

Not for nothing, but this makes a crazy good Manhattan with some Antica Formula vermouth and a touch of orange oils.

Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Series

Bardstown Bourbon Company

ABV: 61.1% (varies)

Average Price: $145

The Whiskey:

Bardstown is another blendery that’s doing pretty amazing work with sourced barrels. In this case, that’s four barrels from Kentucky aged five to 13 years. The lion’s share of that mix, at 75 percent of the blend, is an eleven-year-old bourbon with a mash bill of 74 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and eight percent malted barley (that just so happens to be Barton 1792’s bourbon mash, but that’s probably just a coincidence…).

Tasting Notes:

This opens like a classic bourbon with rich and creamy vanilla next to sweet caramel popcorn and a hint of old cellar oak with a cobweb or two still hanging around. The palate veers into a cinnamon hard candy territory, with a serious sharp spice next to cream soda and a touch of dry pine. The finish brings about a slight tobacco chewiness that’s attached more to the vanilla than the cinnamon as it fades away fairly slowly.

Bottom Line:

This really does leave you wanting more. The velvet nature of the sip next to the sharpness of the cinnamon and creaminess of the vanilla is so finely balanced that the sip conjures a vision of scientists with beakers formulating the expression.

Wild Turkey Decades

Campari Group

ABV: 52%

Average Price: $145

The Whiskey:

This bourbon is a representation of what great barrel selection can do. The juice is a blend of whiskeys that matured for ten to 20 years in Wild Turkey’s vast warehouses (specifically on the high floors of their low elevation rickhouse) and hit just the right flavor notes according to Master Distiller Eddie Russell’s palate.

Tasting Notes:

This draws you in with a nose full of orange oils, salted caramel, mild soft cherry wood, rich and buttery toffee, and a whisper of dried flowers. The taste brings that familiar Wild Turkey sharp spiciness but with more subtlety, like eggnog spices, with a creamy texture thanks to oily vanilla pods and a dry sense of oak. The fade is very long, leaving you with a spicy vanilla tobacco buzz next to another hint cherry wood and orange.

Bottom Line:

This feels like the mountaintop of Wild Turkey. It’s familiar if you know WT’s vibe but takes all those notes to their logical and delicious conclusion. Take your time with this one in a Glencairn and really dig deep to find more nuanced notes.

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary

Beam Suntory

ABV: 61.05% (varies)

Average Price: $149

The Whiskey:

This is a very rare release from Beam. The expression was first released in 2017 to celebrate the premium brand’s 25th anniversary. The juice is a single barrel that’s between 12 and 13 years old and barreled as cask strength with zero fuss.

Tasting Notes:

This is bourbon with a capital “B” from top to bottom, with a nose full of oily and rich vanilla next to salted and almost smoky caramel kettle corn, a hint of dry oak, and very mild cherry tobacco. That cherry tobacco carries the taste towards holiday spices, creamy vanilla pudding, and an underbelly of buttery toffee. The end is long and amps up the spices towards Red Hots territory as the tobacco chew kicks up next to an almost cedar note, leaving you really buzzing on the tongue and across your senses.

Bottom Line:

This is a very rich and robust sip of bourbon. It is a little warm for the uninitiated, so we’d recommend exploring this dram with a rock in the ol’ Glencairn while sipping and nosing.

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 21 Year

Diageo

ABV: 45.1%

Average Price: $149

The Whiskey:

This is a very interesting expression. A while back, Diageo bought Stitzel-Weller, which was aging juice from Heaven Hill’s Bernheim distillery alongside its own old stock. They’ve been releasing leftover barrels from a bygone era through their various shingles (Bulleit, I.W. Harper, etc.) while also releasing so-called “Orphan Barrels.”

This is a 21-year-old barrel that was the second in a series of releases of 20 to 25-year-old one-off expressions from Diageo’s stash.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mix of almost crystalized honey next to vanilla husks, burnt caramel, dry pine, and worn library leather on the nose. The palate holds onto the vanilla as a base while adding in eggnog spices next to apricot and prune with a counterpoint of freshly cracked peppercorns. The end takes its time as those eggnog spices amp up to the point that the nutmeg feels more like a whole nutmeg and the cinnamon feels like a warm stick.

Bottom Line:

This really is a one-off that’s useful as either a collector’s item to squirrel away as an investment or something you bring out only for special occasions. It feels like something you’re never going to taste again when you take a sip, which makes you want to hide it away.

Saint Cloud 7 Year Single Barrel

Saint Cloud

ABV: 61.2%

Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

This is a fascinating mix of sourced bourbon and… good marketing. At seven years, it’s very young for such a pricy bourbon. The juice is hand-selected barrels that meet the specific taste and texture requirements of Saint Cloud’s team. That whiskey is then bottled at barrel strength with no other fussing, giving you a single barrel experience that’s one-of-a-kind.

Tasting Notes:

You’re drawn in with a white cake slathered in buttery vanilla frosting next to a salted caramel waxy wrapper vibe. The palate is subtle, with hints of darkly roasted coffee beans covered in equally dark chocolate next to marzipan, light spices, and a touch of soft and maybe wet cedar. The end holds onto the spices (think clove and cinnamon) as a touch of dried apricot and dried cedar slowly fades towards a velvet-yet-warming end.

Bottom Line:

This has a sweet Highland scotch vibe that’s really enticing. If you know someone into those types of scotches who also wants to get into bourbon, this is a great prospect.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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